the heART of the matter DVD
Luit Bieringa’s richly archived documentary examines the legacy of Gordon Tovey and the post-war education programmes that put art, artists, and Māori arts in particular, into the New Zealand classroom.
Under the leadership of a legendary director general of education, Clarence Beeby, the years immediately after World War II saw the most remarkable shifts in educational philosophy New Zealand had ever experienced.
Luit Bieringa’s documentary traces those changes and the army of men and women who worked to establish a thoroughly bicultural and arts-centred education system. Gordon Tovey, national supervisor of arts and crafts, and his team of artists and art specialists fostered the lively and colourful classrooms that New Zealand is familiar with today, in stark contrast to the rote-learning environments preceding them. Contributing art specialists included Cliff Whiting, Para Matchitt and Ralph Hotere. Critically, they ensured that aspects of Māori art such as kōwhaiwhai, kapa haka and waiata had a central place in our mainstream classrooms through in-depth consultation with Ngāti Porou kaumātua Pine Taiapa.
Replete with archival interviews and little-seen footage, this film is likely to transport any Kiwi-educated boomer back to school, but its richly storied excavation of the past is as clearly pointed towards the future as once were its public-servant heroes.
Special features: 12 extended interviews and themed conversations to explore.